Senator: Seat belt law likely to pass

JEFFERSON CITY — A key senator predicted Tuesday that legislators will pass a law next session giving law enforcement officers increased authority to ticket people for not wearing vehicle seat belts.

Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Jon Dolan said a primary seat belt law is important for safety and could bring the state millions of dollars in federal incentive money.

Blood often an overlooked military need

During a time of war, weapons, ammunition and food aren’t the only necessities for American military forces. One of the most overlooked needs is blood.

Ten U.S. Army reservists from the Columbia-based 7227th Medical Detachment will be spending the next year at Fort Hood, Texas, taking blood from newly enlisted soldiers.

Bells will be ringing

Do-it-yourselfers and hobbyists appear to be better givers than discount shoppers, judging by the Salvation Army’s tally of donations from the first busy shopping weekend of the year.

The charity reported that its signature red kettles were filled with more than $6,500 in donations over the busy post-Thanksgiving shopping weekend, up roughly $200 from the same period last year.

Committee wary of rushed road taxes

The Transportation Finance Advisory Committee said Tuesday its study of road improvements is being rushed, and as a result all the options are not being fully considered. The study examines how Columbia should fund more than $480 million in road improvements through 2030.

Committee member Bob Pugh couldn’t be at the meeting, but a letter he wrote was distributed to the other attendees and set the tone for the meeting.

Bright spots rare for Tigers

Few would have predicted the Missouri football team’s painful decline from a Top 25 ranking to missing the bowl season.

Blown leads, missed opportunities and numerous other problems contributed to a 5-6 record and a 3-5 mark in Big 12 Conference play. The Missourian has compiled postseason grades on the team’s disappointing results.

Saying Goodbye to Gasper’s

Tears couldn’t stop manager Linda Hudson’s hand from turning the lock.

 Gasper’s, the 39-year-old Kingdom City truck stop, closed its doors for the final time Tuesday, ending the legacy of a restaurant that’s known by truck drivers from coast to coast.

Tigers deal Evansville all aces at home

Intensity has its benefits.

The benefit came to Missouri’s women’s basketball team in an 82-66 win against Evansville on Tuesday night.

Coach Cindy Stein said the performance was what she wants to see.

“I’m very pleased with this team today,” Stein said. “I can’t tell you that I could have said that prior to this.”

Nixon targets teenage smoking

Missouri lawmakers should use new settlement money the state receives from about 40 small tobacco companies for efforts to reduce smoking among young people, state Attorney General Jay Nixon said Tuesday.

Nixon said Missouri’s smoking rate is the nation’s third-highest, with more tobacco-using high school students — 30.3 percent — than adults smoking statewide, or 26.6 percent.

John won’t seek third council term

Citing time constraints and a promise made in 2002, Fifth Ward Councilman John John said he will not seek re-election to a third term.

John’s second term on the Columbia City Council expires in April, as does the second term of First Ward Councilwoman Almeta Crayton. Both seats will be up for election April 5. Crayton could not be reached for comment on her plans.

Man dies in car crash after causing multiple accidents

Police are continuing to investigate a series of accidents caused by a Columbia man who died Friday night after a police chase, according to a press release from the Jefferson City Police Department.

The incident started when David Ward, 38, left the Jefferson City Wal-Mart on Missouri Boulevard and struck a vehicle driven by Daryl Woodruff, 27, of Jefferson City. Ward left the scene of the accident and was pursued by Woodruff, who notified Jefferson City police, according to the release.

Kewpies lose in coach’s debut

In his debut as Hickman’s wrestling coach, J.D. Coffman said it wasn’t too hard to get settled in.

“(It felt) pretty good,” he said. “I was a little apprehensive, a little nervous about just the overall maintenances of getting the mats down, getting everybody lined up and making sure everybody was ready to wrestle.”

Cougars tested as title game looms

For some teams, finishing in second place is more motivating than finishing in last place. The Columbia College volleyball team is one such team.

“Finishing second last year is definitely a bigger motivator than finishing last would have been,” senior setter Tracie Ford said. “Being so close and not getting (the national championship) hurt a lot.”

Federal bill may boost Columbia bus system

A financial boost from the federal government might allow the city to buy a trolley bus for downtown and to improve other aspects of its bus service, city officials said Tuesday.

Rep. Kenny Hulshof, R-Mo., said Tuesday the Omnibus Appropriations Bill approved by Congress has earmarked $842,945 for the city’s transit system. If the bill is signed into law by President Bush, the grant would require a 20 percent match from the city.

Bobcats slip past Cougars

Columbia College men’s basketball team fell to the College of the Ozarks Bobcats 69-65 at Point Lookout. The Cougars are 4-6, College of the Ozarks improved to 5-2.

Junior Terrance Smith led the Cougars with 21 points and sophomore Andreas Jakobsen added 12 points. Coach Bob Burchard said foul trouble contributed to the loss. Senior Tim Melz and junior Nahowan Saxon fouled out of the game and the Bobcats had ample opportunities from the free-throw line, shooting 19-of-26. The Cougars shot 87.5 percent from the line but were limited to eight attempts.

Study circle examines aftermath of election

Nearly a month after a bitter presidential election, about 20 Columbia residents convened a study circle Tuesday at the Columbia Public Library to discuss political labeling and reconciliation in the election’s aftermath.

The study circle, which lasted three hours, featured frank exchanges on personal convictions, but participants reported leaving the session with greater feelings of optimism and understanding.